The Resounding Right of Mutulu Shakur to Die in Freedom

Where Compassion Fails

Mutulu Shakur and his codefendant Marilyn Buck  at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, 1987. Photo: Trella Laughlin.

Anyone with a loved one in prison carries around the silent, ceaseless terror that the person so loved will die alone, behind bars. Currently, 71-year-old Mutulu Shakur, a Black man imprisoned 36 years, lies in a hospital bed in a federal prison medical facility in Lexington, Kentucky. Ravaged by bone marrow cancer, fed by tubes, having lost 25% of his body weight, Shakur has been given weeks – at best, months – to live. His loved ones – family, friends, hundreds of supporters – are trying any and all legal means to get him out. Time and again, the US government and the courts refuse.

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Susie Day has written about prison issues since 1988, when she began reporting on the cases of people charged with political protest acts, one of them, Marilyn Buck. Her book, The Brother You Choose: Paul Coates and Eddie Conway Talk About Life, Politics, and The Revolution, was published by Haymarket Books in 2020.

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